The Countdown 2030 Europe Consortium welcomes the second report of the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 Follow-up (HLC), focusing on using sexual and reproductive justice as the vehicle to deliver the Nairobi Summit commitments. Countdown especially welcomes the deepened focus on sexual and reproductive justice, which was already identified as an important framework in the HLC’s first report. As we are quickly approaching the ICPD+30 review, the follow-up of the Nairobi Summit where stakeholders committed to accelerating the implementation of the Programme of Action (PoA) of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), is more critical than ever.
The Consortium applauds the HLC’s emphasis and call to action for states to prioritise those facing the worst disparities in sexual and reproductive justice. In order to fulfill the commitments outlined in the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA) and its review conferences, as well as the commitments made at the Nairobi Summit, an intersectional approach is crucial in order to leave no one behind. The Countdown Consortium works to ensure that including considerations of those experiencing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, remain a key priority in SRHR policies and interventions. Countdown supports that solutions need to capture the complexity of people’s lives and the intersecting forces that oppress them and that ultimately impede their SRHR.
Countdown welcomed the focus on establishing and using mechanisms for accountability for realizing the ICPD PoA, in the HLC’s first report. Countdown is pleased to see the progress in the second report as among Low and Middle Income Countries tracked by UNFPA, at least 77 have created national action plans to implement their national Nairobi commitments, integrated commitments into national or sector policies and/or developed systems to monitor progress. The 2021 SDG reviews of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Tunisia and Zimbabwe, and the 2022 reviews of Botswana, Jordan and Mali, highlighted their Nairobi commitments and progress in implementation. Countdown supports the HLC’s continued emphasis on integrating the Nairobi Summit commitments in national implementation, monitoring and reporting processes related to the Universal Periodic Review, as well as the focus on the role of parliamentarians for national Nairobi commitment follow-up.
Countdown also appreciates the HLC’s emphasis on linking the sexual and reproductive justice framework to other justice agendas and issues such as education, environmental justice and economic justice. Sexual and reproductive justice is a prerequisite for achieving justice more broadly and to end alarming disparities in sexual and reproductive justice. Interlinking and incorporating SRHR in broader human rights and development efforts, is fundamental in order to break down silos and to ensure efforts are effective. Applying a reproductive justice framework will ensure human rights and social justice are at the center of all development efforts. It also creates opportunities for actors in diverse movements to build solidarity and form a critical mass to effect change.
Despite the progress outlined in the HLC’s report, the three years that have passed since the Nairobi Summit have been marked by a global pandemic, continuing humanitarian crises, growing challenges from transnational anti-democratic movements and a growing urgent need to address the climate crisis. Without a reproductive justice lens in SRHR development efforts, there is a risk of oversight in decision making, policies and programs that lack representation and inclusion resulting in social injustices. Countdown therefore underscores that it is of utmost importance that decision makers act urgently to ensure the realisation of member states’ Nairobi Summit commitments and in particular urge the HLC to continue to:
review and provide recommendations that are relevant, actionable and impactful, and
that UN entities and member states take into account the HLC’s recommendations and respond to the recommendations in a meaningful manner, especially during times when SRHR risks becoming side-lined.